Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Melting iceberg of vote banks politics in Bihar

Not only the ice on the north pole of the earth, the iceberg of vote bank politics in Bihar is also melting slowly .It is due to the new type of social engineering of the engineer turned politician chief minister Nitish kumar.It is being done through the administrative and political measures.Due to new, silent and significant political developments, old benificiaries of caste-based vote banks politics are badly perturbed these days. Thus Nitish kumar is trying to change the age old agenda of Bihar politics from caste based to development based.

Whenever next lok sabha election takes place, in Bihar new voting pattern might be witnessed.In politically vibrant state like Bihar,this new political phenomenon is seems to be of far reaching consequences.Nitish kumar became the chief minister of the state in November,2005.Since then three lok sabha bye elections took place in the state.According to keen political observers ,all the three bye elections were won by the ruling N.D.A.candidates due to this new social engineering apart from several developmental schems.

Before discussing the measures taken by the new chief minister of this economically backward and to some extent unfortunate state,one should like to know the prevalent caste based vote bank politics.Obviously it was started by Congress party who has created Woman, Brahmin, muslim and schedule castes vote bank for her. It was created by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi after great division of the congress in 1969 . Bihar was also in the grip of this caste based politics for long years.But when Laloo prasad emerged as mandal messiah in ninetees,he created his own backward-dalit-muslim vote bank. He ruled the state like despot for full fifteen years with the help of this vote bank. Later part of his rule,he was limited to muslim-yadav vote bank only. Meantime Ram vilas paswan has created a solid niche in Paswan vote bank for himself.

When Nitish kumar parted company with Laloo Prasad in 1994, he was the leader of kurmi-koiri vote bank.

Vote bank politics has done immense damage to Bihar making it more backward.Supremos of vote bank politics thought their vote bank fiefdoms would not desert them even if they become oblivious to the problems of the backward and unfortunate state like Bihar.For many years, Bihar politics was guided by the slogans based on castes,religion and other sentiments.Cash and criminals also played their roles .Developments were neglected like anything.In every district,some sort of political mafias were allowed to be emerged and rule.Law and order was the worst casualty. Major parts of the govermental funds for developments and welfare were looted with impunity.Intoxicated with the power of vote bank politics,power –that- be was became ultra insensitive to even the basic problems of even their own people ie vote bank.

Realising the menace of vote bank politics, Nitish kumar started demolishing this from the first year of his office.His efforts are still on.For panchayats and local bodies elections, Nitish government has reserved fifty percent elective seats for women. Nitish kumar managed to reserve 20 percent seats for extremely backward castes in panchayats and local bodies.With this particular decision chief minister s own caste kurmi was deprived of many seats in panchayats and local bodies.Before this decision in favour of extremely backward castes, major panchayats seats were won by intermediary backward castes like yadav and kurmi.

Another major move in this regard was the reservation of 50 percent seats for women candidates in primary school teachers recruitments.Nearly two lakh teachers were already recruited during nitish tenure. Process for recruitments of another one lakh teachers is on.Thus by giving jobs to one and half lakh women in schools Nitish kumar badly damaged the old pattern of vote bank politics.Apart from these things Nitish government has taken some others women-centric measures dividing vertically the traditional vote banks.Guided by late socialist thinker and leader Dr.Ram manohar lohia ,Nitish kumar regarded women from every castes backwards and oppressed.Though Nitish kumar s party does not want to extend this Lohia s thinking for reservation for this section in parliament and state legislatures.This is really curious part of nitish kumar s politics.

Anyway, this thing apart Nitish kumar provoked Ram vilas paswan and Laloo Prasad for criticizing him for so called attempt to divide minority and dalits. Nitish government has created Maha dalit commission for recommending welfare measures for extremely backward among dalits.The commission has come to the coclusion that only a few castes among Dalits are being benifitted after independence.Nitish government has earmarked separate funds for the welfare of extremely dalits castes.Central minister and another strong leader of Bihar Mr Ram vilas paswan has openly charged Nitish kumar for dividing dalits and thus trying to weakenin them .
Same way, Laloo prasad and his party Rashtriya janta dal has been accusing nitish kumar continuously for dividing backwards and muslims.They also charged that Nitish was playing in the hands of feudal elements by dividing the forces of social justice and communal harmony.But supporters of new measures are not convinced saying that people at large are happy with the new measures of the state government.They argue that without thinking about any vote bank thing,Nitish government taking the measures which are necessary for the weaker sections of different caste and community groups..

But apart from the overt statement,hidden agenda of demolishing vote bank politics is doing miracle. Apart from winning all lok sabha and assembly bye election seats in last two and half years,the latest survey by a newspaper suggests that 73 percent people of Bihar think that this nitish government is more efficient than the previous one.

When two members from backward muslim ie. Pansmanda ie. backward muslim community Ali anwar and Dr.Ezaj Ali were sent to Rajya sabha one by one from Bihar by nitish kumar s party j.d.u, it was clear indication that muslim vote banks are being divided on the pattern of Hindus. Simultaneously nitish government has got the Bhagal pur riots closed cases reopened and court covicted even those accused who were got scot- free during previous regime.This made minority in Bihar soft to new regime if not supportive as BJ.P.is major partner in Nitish govt.

This new type of social engineering coupled with continuing widespread developmental programmes of this government has given the different look to the monotonous politics of this unfortunate state which was solely based on cash,caste and criminals.Now people have already started taking their political decision on the basis of the performance of the government. Veteran criminals even with political patronage are being convicted one by one these days. It is believed that the next lok sabha election results from Bihar might re inforce this people s decision in a big way.It is not for nothing that Nitish is repeatedly saying that if our state government would not be able to turnaround Bihar,I would not go to the people for vote in next Bihar assembly election due in 2010.
(unpublished) 12 july 2008.

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